University of Michigan Football Player Comments
Previewing Central Michigan (Sept. 9); Reviewing Vanderbilt (Sept. 2)
Sophomore Tailback Kevin Grady
On the ups and downs of the first game ... "Coming back to the Big House for the first time since last year, obviously emotions are going to be high for the first game of the season. I kind of tried to do everything at a steady level so I could play the game to the best of my ability."
On what he does differently than the other running backs on the team ... "Obviously, we have a lot of different backs. Everybody has their own style, so I really just try to keep the chains moving as far as us running the ball C just first-down after first-down. I try to get in there and do whatever I can to help us win."
On the new blocking scheme ... "I love the new scheme. Everybody knows it's a zone scheme; it's a little different than what we ran last year. I love what coach DeBord is trying to do with the new running attack. I think that's going to be really big for us here in the future."
On freshman Brandon Minor ... "Brandon, he's an explosive back. He's a standout guy. If you were able to come to practice, you would see some of the things that he did. Like I said earlier, every back has his own style. He's really an explosive guy; he brings a little bit more speed to the table than some of us."
On if the team's goal is to run the ball more this year ... "Running the ball is an attitude. I think, as an offense, we have to develop an attitude to commit ourselves to go out and run the football. That's where it all starts, being able to run the football and control the clock."
On if he feels different after losing some weight ... "Yes, I feel a lot different. Eleven pounds makes a big difference stamina-wise, being able to laterally move and just me feeling better out there on the field. It has definitely made a big difference."
On what he likes about the new blocking scheme ... "If you have great vision, this is a great offense for you. It's not really a set offense where you have to be able to be in a certain gap the whole time. We have landmarks and courses that you have to stay on, but for the most part, it's just you being out there and being able to see different blocks and seeing how things are set up."
Junior Safety Jamar Adams
On what the team can improve on ... "We had some guys miss their assignment, which happens a lot of times in the first game. [We should] sure up those assignments, that's probably the main thing. We had guys playing hard and we had guys out there really trying to have a winning effort."
On playing with five defensive backs on the field ... "It depends on the offense and the team we are playing. That team was with three or four receivers, we had to match up with their speed and athleticism. Some teams might be two receivers and two tight ends or two receivers, a fullback and a tight end. We just try to match their personality."
On his improvements from last year to this year ... "I think a lot of my growing pains were mental, some physical too, but a lot were mental. I felt like I was out there and my goal was to play good, but also help my teammates to play good. I tried to communicate a lot out there and make sure the defense was in the right call and guys were in the right positions covering the right guys and making all the right checks. I think that was one of the biggest advancements that I made because I was able to help the defense out a little bit more with the mental part of my game."
On what needs to happen to improve from this week to next week ... "I think that we have to come out and practice hard on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and continue to watch film and become a defense that knows what the offense is going to do when they line up. We just have to get a little bit smarter in terms of knowing what the offense is going to do and continue to play hard and it will all come together for us."
On Central Michigan ... "I haven't watched film on them yet. I watched a little bit of their game against Boston College. I know they are a team that is going to come in and play hard, that's one thing I do know about them. I know they are going to be an offense that is going to try and score points, like everyone does. We have to go out there with the same mentality and try to stop whatever they try to do and come out with a victory."
On if he noticed the difference in the timing with the new rules ... "I kind of noticed a difference. My fatigue level wasn't up there per se. I wasn't really thinking about it because we worked so hard on conditioning, so I just felt like that's how I was supposed to feel, I wasn't supposed to be tired. So to me, the game speed wasn't a big factor."
On if it's tempting to overlook Central Michigan since Notre Dame is the next week ... "It's not tempting at all. Every performance in this stadium is a great time to be in the stadium and put the uniform on. It's few and far between. We only get seven opportunities and the rest of the time we are somewhere training, running and lifting weights. Every time we get an opportunity to step in that stadium it's a great thing."
Fifth-Year Senior Linebacker David Harris
On what playing 'fast' means ..."It means getting to the ball. This off-season we stressed getting in shape and losing a lot of weight. Lose those extra pounds to keep us strong throughout the game and last Saturday it showed. A lot of players got their hat to the ball, got off blocks, and gave 100-perecent effort on every play."
On the progression of linebacker Shawn Crable ... "He's a physical player. He's tall, he's mean, and he's fast. He had a great off-season and stepped up a lot. He gives our defense a lot of different looks. He can play (defensive) end and he can also play linebacker, so it gives us some more opportunities."
On when he noticed the biggest change in Crable ... "Probably December 29th, after the Alamo Bowl. I'm guessing it left a bad taste in his mouth and he knew his contribution was needed and he just stepped up his game."
On Central Michigan ... "I watched a little bit of their game last Thursday against Boston College. They're going to play hard. Their coach, Coach Kelly, is from Grand Valley which is around Grand Rapids. I know he's going to get the most out of his players. They run the spread offense, so we have to be prepared for that. Watch their defense, they are going to swarm to the ball and get all 11 people to the ball, so they are going to play us tough."
On the play of the defensive line ... "The front four played terrific last Saturday. When they are playing like that and putting a lot of pressure on the ball and the quarterback, it makes them (opposing offense) a little bit nervous and makes them a little more anxious to get out of the pocket and scramble and make mistakes. It makes the back seven's job a lot easier, because the wide receivers don't have enough time to get open. It just makes things easier."
On Rondell Biggs ... "He's a hard worker. You have to give it up. He's a senior and knows he has to step up. He continues to get better and had a good off-season."
On containing a mobile quarterback ..."Like I said before, all eleven players have to get off their blocks and find a way to get to the ball. Keep it inside, keep leverage, and don't lose contain. We just have to keep working on it."
Senior Offensive Lineman Adam Kraus
On the new blocking scheme ... "I was excited when they told us that we were going to change to a zone-scheme. I'm a lighter guy and I'm not as big as some of the past offensive lineman and this scheme really fits me. I think it fits our offensive line. It's an offense where you need to be quick and get off the ball and get to your landmark, so I think it fits us really well."
On the changes to the offense ..."I think everyone knew that something needed to be changed and coach DeBord wanted to find the offense that fit us the best. I think we did a good job. I think he found one."
On the performance of the passing game ... "I think we had some mistakes in the past game. We had some simple things that can be corrected. We're going to come out here and work hard this week and improve. I don't think it's anything to worry about. But I think that we're going to come out and just get better everyday."
On what he means by landmarks ... "There are certain places on the jersey of the defender where you want to get your hat. You want to get it there so you can stretch the defense and make the creases for the backs. So there are certain places on the jersey of the defender."
On teams that the offense studied during the offseason ... "We studied the Denver Broncos. We studied the Atlanta Falcons. They both run zone offense. Watching them do it is something else, because those guys can really move. We definitely got to see a picture of it at its best."
On what he does when a defender is not over him ... "We have rules that tell us what to do. We study defense, so we know what we're seeing. So, if a guy comes out a certain way we know what we're doing and we make the calls necessary to get the scheme blocked."
On if a different running back changes blocking scheme ..."Not at all. We get to our landmarks and they make the cuts, so I don't care if Jake Long is back there playing tailback, we're going to block it the same way."
On the temptation of overlooking Central Michigan ... "If you saw the Boston College game, then you know that Central is a dangerous team. Their defense is full of a bunch of tough, strong guys. They swarm around the ball and they have a motor. We need to put all of our energy into Central and I think we're going to do that. It's going to be easy not to over look them, because they are a good team."
Fifth-Year Senior Defensive End Rondell Biggs
On making the most of what you have ... "I am just as athletic (as other defensive ends) and one of the bigger and stronger defensive ends on the team. Not to hype myself, but because I wasn't a five-star (recruit) like some of the other players. Some players get overlooked like Braylon Edwards who came in as a three-star. People get overlooked."
On having something to prove coming to Michigan ... "I knew that I was talented. I knew I could play. I started off at a late age playing football. I didn't have my name out there. I didn't come to the camps so I didn't get as much exposure."
On when he started playing football ... "I started my ninth-grade year in high school and I actually quit my 10th grade year because we went 0-9 so I felt football just wasn't for me. Then I started back again my 11th-grade year. That year was the first time in my high school's history that we went to the state playoffs."
On why he quit after one year ... "I never really liked it. My dad never played. My family tradition was basketball. I kind of went on my own and started to put on some weight. I thought I'd try something new."
On what he learned from quitting and coming back ... "I can't say I learned anything from it. I was just out there playing. The coaches didn't act well. I wasn't having fun. We lost every game. I just felt football wasn't my thing. It was a blessing when my high school coach came. He actually coached Larry Foote and Maurice Williams. He got me to go out there and play again."
On what he likes about football now ... "I love it. It pays for school. My mom comes to every game. She loves watching the games. I can go over to her house and she is up there watching football. She watches more than me and this is a lady who didn't know anything about it before."
On his mom critiquing him ... "She thinks she's a coach. I don't know, she might have gone in and tried to convince Coach Carr to let her come in as a coach. She actually thinks she is a coach. She is really critical."
On if she critiques his play ... "I talk to her every day. She comes to all the games that she can make. She catches things. She will say I should have made that tackle or made that sack."
On if she enjoyed his sacks ... "She had a great time. It was nice to see a smile on her face. She's lived through a lot. It was nice to have a good game. She told me to go out there and do well so I followed mom's words."
On the intensity brought by defensive coordinator Ron English ... "Coach English is pretty intense. On defense, you have to respond to him. You can't get sensitive in football. You have to respond to it. They do it for a reason. It's not done to be bad. It's done to motivate you. You have to look at it as a positive."
On missing time with injury last season ... "It was hard, but I learned from it. Nothing is promised to you. For me to get injured, it made me work hard. It made me take advantage of every play and to go out and work hard."
On hyping himself up for a game ... "I just go out there and play. I know I can play or I wouldn't be here. Everybody on the team has some type of ability. Some people don't get molded right or some people have different problems. I just worked hard. I have had some great coaches and I have learned a lot."
On being talked about with the other names on defense ... "It has been weird and fun. I am not used to getting any attention like LaMarr (Woodley) has and Alan Branch too. It is also good, too. I know my mom enjoys it. I wasn't used to it. I remember I came in to the interview room on Saturday and I was surprised. I didn't even know that my stats were that good. It was shocking after being injured last year and not having my name out there much."
On competition with junior defensive end Tim Jamison ... "Competition pushes people and always brings out the best in people. Tim Jamison is great and he is going to be really good. Once he gets back, we will see what happens. We will probably get a three- or four-man rotation going to keep fresh people in there."
On if he feels he has a knack now for making plays ... "I think a lot last year I wasn't playing as freely as I was in this first game. I am thinking a lot less and getting a feeling for the game a little bit more. You have to have some sort of knack to be able to go out there and play on defense."
Media Contacts: David Ablauf, Jim Schneider (734) 763-4423